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Worthometer Canada (Beta): Gauge Your Net Worth Against Canadian Households

Update: As of June 8, 2015, this Worthometer Canada Beta release has been updated to reflect Canada’s latest published data. To see the update, click this post: Worthometer Canada: Compare Your Net Worth to Others (Without Being Rude).

The largest study of Canadian net worth, the Survey of Financial Security (SFS), is conducted by Statistics Canada, an agency of the federal government. The 2012 SFS surveyed 12,000 households about a wide range of financial matters. If you live in Canada, the SFS presents the best source for figuring out how your nest egg stacks up against those of other Canadians.

The SFS defines net worth as the amount that would remain if a household sold off all of its assets and paid off all of its debts. For 2012, the SFS reports a household median net worth of $243,800 (so if all those surveyed were listed in a long column in order of wealth, as many households would fall above the $243,800 mark as below it). In recent years Canadian median net worth has been growing by leaps and bounds. On an inflation adjusted basis, the 2012 median reflects a 44.5 percent jump from the 2005 SFS.

Like similar US surveys, the SFS reports net worth data in percentiles. Here’s a chart of the published figures, some of which appear to have been rounded by the survey’s authors. All amounts reflect 2012 Canadian dollars.

Net Worth Percentile
$1,100 10
$56,100 30
$245,000 50
$575,500 70
$1,380,000 90

These figures, which were released in February, 2014, contain a paltry five data points. But good news awaits the curious. An expanded chart of net worth percentiles, known as the Public Use Microdata File (PUMF), is scheduled for release later this summer. The 2005 PUMF reported forty separate percentile levels, so if the 2012 PUMF follows suit, much more data is on its way.

Meanwhile, here’s a beta version of Worthometer Canada that uses a process of linear interpolation to fill in the gaps between available data points.

If you have at least x dollars, then y percent of those surveyed are worth less than you

Net Worth Percentile
$1,100 10.0
$2,475 10.5
$3,850 11.0
$5,225 11.5
$6,600 12.0
$7,975 12.5
$9,350 13.0
$10,725 13.5
$12,100 14.0
$13,475 14.5
$14,850 15.0
$16,225 15.5
$17,600 16.0
$18,975 16.5
$20,350 17.0
$21,725 17.5
$23,100 18.0
$24,475 18.5
$25,850 19.0
$27,225 19.5
$28,600 20.0
$29,975 20.5
$31,350 21.0
$32,725 21.5
$34,100 22.0
$35,475 22.5
$36,850 23.0
$38,225 23.5
$39,600 24.0
$40,975 24.5
$42,350 25.0
$43,725 25.5
$45,100 26.0
$46,475 26.5
$47,850 27.0
$49,225 27.5
$50,600 28.0
$51,975 28.5
$53,350 29.0
$54,725 29.5
$56,100 30.0
$60,823 30.5
$65,545 31.0
$70,268 31.5
$74,990 32.0
$79,713 32.5
$84,435 33.0
$89,158 33.5
$93,880 34.0
$98,603 34.5
$103,325 35.0
$108,048 35.5
$112,770 36.0
$117,493 36.5
$122,215 37.0
$126,938 37.5
$131,660 38.0
$136,383 38.5
$141,105 39.0
$145,828 39.5
$150,550 40.0
$155,273 40.5
$159,995 41.0
$164,718 41.5
$169,440 42.0
$174,163 42.5
$178,885 43.0
$183,608 43.5
$188,330 44.0
$193,053 44.5
$197,775 45.0
$202,498 45.5
$207,220 46.0
$211,943 46.5
$216,665 47.0
$221,388 47.5
$226,110 48.0
$230,833 48.5
$235,555 49.0
$240,278 49.5
$245,000 50.0
$253,263 50.5
$261,525 51.0
$269,788 51.5
$278,050 52.0
$286,313 52.5
$294,575 53.0
$302,838 53.5
$311,100 54.0
$319,363 54.5
$327,625 55.0
$335,888 55.5
$344,150 56.0
$352,413 56.5
$360,675 57.0
$368,938 57.5
$377,200 58.0
$385,463 58.5
$393,725 59.0
$401,988 59.5
$410,250 60.0
$418,513 60.5
$426,775 61.0
$435,038 61.5
$443,300 62.0
$451,563 62.5
$459,825 63.0
$468,088 63.5
$476,350 64.0
$484,613 64.5
$492,875 65.0
$501,138 65.5
$509,400 66.0
$517,663 66.5
$525,925 67.0
$534,188 67.5
$542,450 68.0
$550,713 68.5
$558,975 69.0
$567,238 69.5
$575,500 70.0
$595,613 70.5
$615,725 71.0
$635,838 71.5
$655,950 72.0
$676,063 72.5
$696,175 73.0
$716,288 73.5
$736,400 74.0
$756,513 74.5
$776,625 75.0
$796,738 75.5
$816,850 76.0
$836,963 76.5
$857,075 77.0
$877,188 77.5
$897,300 78.0
$917,413 78.5
$937,525 79.0
$957,638 79.5
$977,750 80.0
$997,863 80.5
$1,017,975 81.0
$1,038,088 81.5
$1,058,200 82.0
$1,078,313 82.5
$1,098,425 83.0
$1,118,538 83.5
$1,138,650 84.0
$1,158,763 84.5
$1,178,875 85.0
$1,198,988 85.5
$1,219,100 86.0
$1,239,213 86.5
$1,259,325 87.0
$1,279,438 87.5
$1,299,550 88.0
$1,319,663 88.5
$1,339,775 89.0
$1,359,888 89.5
$1,380,000 90.0

How accurate is this interpolated data?

To find out, I tested the 2005 SFS summary (which reported five data points between CDN$1,000 and CDN$862,900) against the 2005 SFS PUMF (which reported twenty-seven data points within the same range). In the chart below, the PUMF line appears in blue and the interpolated line from the summary data appears in red.

2005 SFS Canadian Chart

As you can see, the interpolated line hugs the PUMF line closely (tenderly, even). This shows that the interpolated data is a close predictor of the survey’s actual results. In fact, when I run an R Squared analysis of the extent to which the interpolated red line predicts the actual data points contained in the blue line, the resulting R2 equals 0.986148, which is a very high score confirming that linear interpolation works well to predict percentiles from the actual data. (Warning: I haven’t run an R2 calculation since 1980, which is the last time I took a statistics course. I invite you to check my work by clicking on the Worthometer Methodology page and scrolling down to Step No. 8.)

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To compare your finances to other major surveys, click any of these links:

Photo Credit: Martin Cathrae. To see original at Flickr, click here.

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17 Responses to Worthometer Canada (Beta): Gauge Your Net Worth Against Canadian Households

  1. Will Lipovsky July 7, 2014 at 7:39 AM #

    I was just researching this stuff yesterday! But for the States. This calc. is really fun if you’ve never used it:

    http://www.globalrichlist.com/
    Will Lipovsky recently posted…How I Save 85% of My IncomeMy Profile

    • A Noonan Moose July 7, 2014 at 8:57 AM #

      Thanks Will!

    • Free To Pursue July 8, 2014 at 1:26 PM #

      Excellent link. Just tried it out. The info graphic is perfect. Short and sweet.

  2. Free To Pursue July 8, 2014 at 1:23 PM #

    Thanks for posting this Noonan, including the fancy use of interpolation. What a nice post-Canada Day gift to the folks up North.

    I have to admit, now that I compare myself to my fellow citizens, I have even more work to do ;). C’est la vie!

    • A Noonan Moose July 8, 2014 at 4:25 PM #

      Merci beaucoup F2P!

  3. NorthernRaven August 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM #

    Just to point out that the SFS includes “Employer Pension Plans (EPP) valued on a termination basis” in assets. So if one is trying to match up against the net worth values here, and has any credits in a pension plan at a current or former employer, you’d want to try and get (or estimate) a commuted value for the plan(s) to add in to your assets.
    It looks like almost half of households have some level of EPP assets, with a median in those households of $123,300, but unfortunately I don’t think there’s any way to get a median household net worth without EPP.

    • A Noonan Moose August 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM #

      Good Point indeed NorthernRaven!

      For households with Defined Contribution (DC) plans, which are not nearly so common as Defined Benefit (DB) plans, commuted values probably may be derived from the annual statements. For DB plans, it’s much more complicated.

      For anyone who is interested in exploring this topic further, Statistics Canada has published a lengthy paper on how it estimates present values for DC and DB plans: Survey of Financial Security Methodology for estimating the value of employer pension plan benefits–Catalog No. 13F0026MIE-01003. If you love digging into the details, you can find the paper by clicking here.

      • NorthernRaven August 17, 2014 at 4:26 PM #

        DB pension providers might provide a commuted or transfer value on request – they produce them when you quit, for instance, and some systems may be willing to produce one for you.

        Another possibility is to find the documentation from your particular pension plan, and use the formulas provided for calculating years-of-service*average final salary to get your annual retirement amount. You could then look up annuity prices available on the web to see how much you’d have to pay for a lifetime annuity providing that same amount. You’d want to be careful to match the retirement age, indexing, and possible reduction with CPP harmonization, but it would probably give you a ceiling – commuted values would likely be somewhat less since pension plans assume higher returns than an annuity.

        • A Noonan Moose August 17, 2014 at 5:12 PM #

          These are excellent suggestions NorthernRaven—thanks for enhancing the content of this post!

    • CheapMom@SimpleCheapMom October 10, 2014 at 8:33 PM #

      Good point, I’ll have to look into the Mr.’s DB booklet they mail out each year.
      CheapMom@SimpleCheapMom recently posted…Can You Stick To Your Grocery List?My Profile

  4. debs@debtdebs August 25, 2014 at 8:57 AM #

    Not sure how I missed this, but c’est la vie! On the US worthometer we were at 92%, on the Canadian beta worthometer we’re at 81%. I’m wondering what that the significance of that is? Should I move to the States? LOL
    debs@debtdebs recently posted…Cutting Cable – Will it Payoff?My Profile

    • A Noonan Moose August 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM #

      My off the cuff explanation for the difference is that Canadian banks were more sane than US banks and did not jump so heavily into home mortgage derivatives. So whereas US housing values crashed in the derivatives aftermath (circa 2008-2009), Canadian housing values did not. Bottom line: Canadian bankers are perhaps less greedy (for futher on Canadian banking culture, read the new bestseller Flash Boys by Michael Lewis).

  5. NorthernRaven September 14, 2014 at 8:18 AM #

    The Broadbent Institute recently released a report on the SFS, and presumably bought a custom tabulation, as they report on deciles, not the quintiles from the initial Statscan release. Unfortunately, they report % of total wealth for the deciles, not median net worth. They do have a couple median numbers in the text – negative $5100 for the bottom decile, and $2,103,200 for the top decile. The should let you recalibrate your interpolation with 5% and 95% data points.

    https://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/sites/default/files/have-havenots.pdf

    • A Noonan Moose September 14, 2014 at 8:28 AM #

      Thanks NR, I’ll check it out!

  6. Pat June 8, 2015 at 7:06 AM #

    Can you show the data past $1.38 Million? Think big or go home!!!

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