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  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Very true Christine! I have had people come to me to ask about budgeting or managing finances and taxes and I have sat down with them and made suggestions and offered frameworks for them. Some are all over it, some never go farther. Your students will all be at very different experience levels and have different situations. My responsibility ends at offering assistance they are responsible for their own learning/changes. The act of preparing for teaching is exceptionally helpful. In order to learn we have to process information and produce a product. (that's why teacher like essays and exams) Teaching is your product. Writing articles is my product. I'm sure they help me more than anyone and the dialogue of the comment section further refines my thinking. My second education (home educating my children) was far more valuable than my first!
    Mar 29, 2015. 03:43 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Thanks for the affirmation Timmies,
    Since I didn't sell before it fell, I'll keep holding CPG. If the dividend gets cut, I'll be looking at that as an opportunity for a dip to buy into. I think CPG has a solid management team and will weather this storm fairly well. I expect they will be acquirers on the way out of the hole.
    I would not be surprised if the div is cut, but I'm not sure.
    Mar 29, 2015. 03:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Hi Sleek,
    I hold banks and pipelines, JNJ, MCD, KO (am very short of utilitiies though). but I also hold some stocks that would be on the border of most retired DGI portfolios (CNI, ATD.B, V,) that have low dividends, higher growth. I wouldn't characterize these as risky though. They're pretty common and large cap, though not as conservative as most of my other holdings.

    I am discovering that most financially free investors are not the typical: invest 20% of income for 45 years, 3 kids, 2 cars, big house, company pension types. We have lives that have been a bit non-traditional, adventurous, out of the box, and life has often dealt us that strange hand...but we've had to step out, think for ourselves and make it work. I agree, we don't have to do extraordinary things, but I think we have to be bit non-traditional! Looking forward to finding some deals on utilities.
    Do you have any fav's? FTS? EMA? CU?
    Oh, and I'll forgive you for being from Calgary,
    Your Northern Rival.
    Mar 29, 2015. 03:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    There is no "good amount" to retire on. Or one specific formula. It all depends on what your expenses and lifestyle dreams and plans are like.
    Income needs to meet regular expenses plus occasional expenses (things like Christmas, replacement for home items at life span) plus a cushion.
    Do they want to travel? What kind of income risk are they willing to take? My mom does not want her money in the stock market, she wants "safe" investments. So instead of being able to earn 4%, she's only going to be able to earn 2%
    They need to talk to a financial advisor who can wade through the long list of basic questions. The Financial Post does a regular column, having a financial planner look through a couple's finances for retirement. They sound like good candidates. It would be a good objective option.
    Mar 29, 2015. 10:59 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Thank you for the morning chuckle Mike.
    I will definitely take your well-wishes in the spirit written,
    Mar 29, 2015. 10:48 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    These are the kind of life possibilities that make moving to a condo a good first step. Our sunny vacation last year required a dog sitter, a house sitter and numerous arrangements. This year we'll be able to just lock the door. I'll even just let the plants die and maybe get some new ones when we return. I don't believe this is our last move, even for the nearer future. (I expect 2-3 years at the latest). I have plans in that department too!

    This was a good first step. It forced all those 20-somethings that lived with us over the years to claim their belongings or lose them forever (except our son, who's entire condo contents are in the 2nd bedroom...what a stack! but he returns from Paris this summer) and though we still have more than we need, we are moving towards portability.

    We had a taste of this when we spent 4 years on a client site 10 years ago. Moved with what the 4 of us could take on the plane (a lot more than now) and thoroughly enjoyed the cultural (and weather) experience.
    I hope you enjoy South Korea too.
    Mar 29, 2015. 10:46 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    You are amazing! I can't imagine taking on a portfolio in the midst of all of those challenges, but I am glad things are working well for you. Having that financial stability in the midst of health instability was probably very comforting. I'm so happy your children stepped up and were able to participate in care and I'm thrilled your husband has progressed well. Your family has probably bonded like never before. In 2006 I fell down a flight of cement stairs carrying a heavy box of books and damaged my back. For a short time (just a month) I was completely incapacitated, unable to walk or stand. It took 2 years to be back to normal, and I am fine now but it was a good lesson in dependence, humility and being cared for. I'll never forget how completely helpless it felt being unable to even stand in the shower by myself.

    Portfolios are not isolated items. They reflect our lives and are intertwined with our stories. For me, it's an extension of household management duties.
    I hope this year is one of rest and restoration for both our families!
    Mar 27, 2015. 08:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Since I suspect you enjoy verbal sparring and philosophical conversation as much as I do, I'll bite.

    Yes, there are nuances to the word deserving, but I still must disagree.

    Definition from
    1. qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one's actions, qualities, or situation:
    the deserving poor; a deserving applicant.
    2. meriting; worthy:
    a criminal deserving of a lifetime sentence.

    There's nothing about me that makes me feel qualified or meriting my situation both fabulous or negative. If we believe we get what we deserve then we have to accept we deserve cancer or to die in a plane crash as those people did the other day through no fault of their own, as well, as very positive things. I can't accept that. I had pneumonia for most of December. Did I deserve it? Actually yes. I had a temper tantrum and stomped off into a snow storm and where I went was where I was exposed. Totally deserved it...a direct result of my own foolishness. My husband caught a nasty infection through no fault of his own. Did he deserve it? Not at all. Are there consequences? Absolutely, and pretty far-reaching. Do I deserve to have a nice portfolio? Yes, because I carefully saved and invested the money. Do I deserve to lose money in any specific investment? portfolio's performance is based on my own buy and sell decisions. That's one of the reason people like to use advisors, they can't handle the consequences of their own decisions. Did we deserve to lose our life's savings years ago? Someone else's actions caused that...but we chose the advisor.

    If life was all that cut and dried, action/reaction it would be simple to figure out. They're not.

    I also have a negative gut reaction to being called 'good'. I know how not good I really am and how even the good things I do are corrupted with mixed motives. I'm so far from good, it's painful to consider. Good is a standard I cannot meet, though I do my best.

    But life is absolutely not just action/reaction. Life is a crazy mix of environment, genetics, circumstances, forces of nature, choices we and everyone around us and who came before us made/makes. Life has placed me here and it's up to me how to respond, cope, manage, and choose from here on in. This leaves the responsibility squarely on my very own shoulders. I choose thankfulness and joy, not pleasure and happiness, as much as I can.

    Ahhhh, even our investments are effected by our philosophy of life.
    I really like the way you make me think, Mike. I'll have lots to ponder while I walk to and am at work.

    Mar 27, 2015. 03:26 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Sadly, I have a large CPG holding that I didn't part with. I expect it to get hammered if they do have to cut their dividend. Oh well, good time to buy more. I'm only down 25% (ha ha) one of very few down holdings. Sniff.
    I still hold CVX at about cost (not including the great gains in currency) and if it dips dramatically I will buy more. Lastly, I only initiated a holding in Suncor mid-October so I'm happy with that. I would like to quadruple the holding over the next few years. Too bad I didn't put that IPL money into ENB after all. That's okay though. I'm not disappointed though. The companies I own have held up extremely well considering.
    Mar 27, 2015. 02:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Yes, very likely. Our income tends to go up with age and various life stages allow for more savings. We had only $10,000 in Jan 2011, now we're ahead of the numbers. 42 x our income /10 is not at all $10,000.

    Do some projections: For example if your income is $50,000 now and you get 5% raises for 10 years you would have: 81,444.73 for income then. (I just googled compound interest calculator to get the numbers).
    If you continued saving about 30% of your income you would have close to $500,000 in 10 years (whoooo hooooo!), with some growth and dividends....
    So back to the formula: 43*81445/10=350,213


    Creating a spreadsheet is what convinced me DGI could work. I was rather astonished at the numbers at the bottom. I haven't added the new numbers but if my husband could continue working....oh my. We currently live on about half of his income, give 15%, save 35%. It was a perfect storm of events, we lost our life savings, children moved out and expenses dropped at the same time as my husband got a new much higher paying job. We determined to save the difference. It's a lot of money to save each month, but it really did happen. One the portfolio was running smoothly I started looking for opportunities to create windfalls. Add a few good return years...and here we are, somewhere I never expected to be. My previous articles chronicle the changes how I ended up here from there.
    Mar 27, 2015. 01:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    My pleasure, Mike! If anyone is not familiar with his writing, check it out! Interesting, Entertaining and Educational!

    "Unfortunately, we don't know in advance when a "good time to buy" is."
    You sum up my entire problem in one sentence!

    "I wish you good fortune -- you deserve it!"
    Thank you for the lovely, sweet wishes, but I absolutely do not deserve it. I am only fortunate. Anytime I feel a tiny twinge of entitlement, I watch a little news. There is no reason it shouldn't be me or my family in those pictures crying. That's where the thankfulness comes in, even in difficult times. I am warm, too-well fed, have ample, valuable work to do with my head and hands, time for recreation, and am as secure as is possible to be in an incredibly uncertain world. Really, what more could one ask for?
    Mar 27, 2015. 12:34 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Matthew: "findependence" Love it! Gotta use it!

    Bazz: I am definitely looking forward to taking advantage of the Canadian Dividend Tax Credit (CDTC)! We calculate that the savings of moving from the home to the condo is about $1000/mo - post tax dollars. That adds up to a lot of time somewhere warm without changing our budget. Convert that to pre-tax dollars and it's even more staggering. Considering that taxes are our biggest expense, giving up traditional income would create another large savings.

    I've been considering moving Visa into the TFSA as well. The tax savings on the capital gain would far outshine the unrecoverable 15% withholding on the small dividend. As I do the big restructuring over the next few months, I will definitely be putting CNR in the TFSA and moving things like BCE, Telus and the banks (in RSP, as we previously had very little $ in non-registered) into the the non-registered. Asset location is important for structuring taxes in retirement and one of the benefits of self-directed investing (compared to mutual fund investing by advisors). This is the reason I asked for free trades. When I explained why I needed them, my contact (that I've developed a relationship with over the past few years) went to bat for me.

    What I really like is that CDTC can be transferred between spouses. I can have the non-reg in my name (assuming I can justify the money as mine and have reason for doing our case, half of the house money is mine) and can transfer the CDTC to my much higher income spouse and keep any cap gains taxed in my little income hands. ;)

    The people writing the tax rules generally are financially savvy investors and have higher, disparate incomes. There are lots of interesting tax rules that benefit their demographic. I'm enjoying being a beneficiary.
    Mar 27, 2015. 12:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    I definitely see an advantage in making multiple purchases and averaging in, especially when adding contributions to or reinvesting dividends into the portfolio. However, I don't think arbitrary annual purchases are an approach that I am interested in. I am certain I can do much better by watching and biding my time. I am certainly not going to choose the best time to buy a stock, or even the best stock to buy, but I don't see the need to waste opportunities that are sure to happen.

    Pop up a chart of UTX for example. I became interested in this stock last spring as I had a small amount of GE, but wanted another industrial for the portfolio. I bought August 8th and doubled the position on October 17th. That is now a very nice holding. I bought GIS Jan 10 and June 30 last year. Not at all perfect, but better than an average price for the whole year. My original JNJ purchase was May 16/13, then doubled Oct 3/13 and doubled again Oct 13/14. I don't really need more, but if it was to go 10% below my ACB, I would buy a chunk more. By picking careful entry points on previously selected stocks I am certain I can do better than picking a day and annually investing on that day.

    If I was already independently wealthy, and the end result wasn't as critical for us, this would be a great sleep-well-at-night approach. Instead, I choose to wrestle with these questions of valuation and timing and how to be the best steward I can of our resources. I don't need to - (ie comment about advisor in article) I just choose to.

    Thank you for commenting Rali. I appreciate it.
    Mar 27, 2015. 11:46 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    We do have many things in common. Being Albertan, real estate market was certainly a factor in the decision, but far down the list. When we did decide to sell for other reasons, we didn't delay though. We were 'first to market' and sold very quickly (cute little house priced attractively). 2 more houses have since been listed on our street.

    Regarding oil, I have not seen as much change in the companies (not many write downs this quarters) and I expect more pain as more layoffs and cancelled projects and dividend cuts happen. I don't think the time is right yet, but I anticipate some good buys this fall, and even next, depending.

    My first purchases will be Suncor (SU) and Whitecap (WCP.TO) and I probably will not wait long enough for them. But I have a nice shopping list in that department.

    I feel similarly about the gold stocks too. I have a very small amount of G too. It's been a wonderful trading stock for me over the years.

    "Best to do the simple and safe first, then you can work on the more ambitious." Thank you. Just that statement helps clear my head. There are many things clamouring for my attention at the moment.

    I appreciate the recommendation to buy a few shares of what I am sure of, creating a portfolio framework on which to gradually build.
    Mar 27, 2015. 11:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    Hello Building,
    I did consider other brokerages, and did some research. Here in Canada most of the larger brokerages do only DRIP whole shares. The clincher was going to be the fees as my broker's fees are more than I could get elsewhere, especially with opening a new account. I'm sure they are keenly aware, hence the free trades. If it hadn't been mentioned somewhere on the forum I wouldn't have been brave enough to ask. I'm glad I did. It does add up. I am considering buying some stock direct from companies instead of using the brokerage account. The only problem I foresee with that is that the estate would have to keep track of it. My father died a decade ago and my mother just recently found paperwork saying he owned shares in a particular company. I'm just starting the research to find out if he still is a shareholder on record!

    I have never used options before and this may be something I look into, but not in the next few months. Thank you for the reminder.
    Mar 27, 2015. 10:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment