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  • Financial Freedom 50 [View article]
    This isn't 'my' space, it's 'our' space and as far as I know its endless!!!! Fill it up! :) There are not many places to have these kinds of conversations. It's difficult to discuss this with real friends as they are not often in the same places or levels of interest or experience in finance.

    A decade ago these things became real to me when my father passed away and we helped my mother move off the farm and manage her new situation. Retirement and lifestyle became a constant topic of discussion in 2010 when we lost 90% of our nest egg. That made the topic of retirement real and began this whole journey. Thankfully the inheritance money was safely tucked away in the house we bought in July 2008 (great timing, hey?) Without that experience we might be another of those families who have an advisor that takes care of everything and we would continue spending our whole income (other than what was automatically saved for us). This self-directed investing path is as different from that, as home education was from sending our kids to school. Much bigger commitment, responsibility and awareness, and so worth it!
    Mar 29, 2015. 04:00 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 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]
    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]
    Retirement age. 2 years ago I wrote an article called Freedom 65. I was thrilled that we could possibly reach financial freedom by then. This is quite a dramatic change for us.
    Mar 26, 2015. 02:48 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My Dividend Portfolio: Adding The Hershey Company [View article]
    Integrator, You and I are interested in many of the same stocks: HSY, SBUX, PEP, PG, just to name a few. I want more or to start a position in these companies and I have a large lump sum (more than doubling my current portfolio) from the sale of our house entering the portfolio soon. However, I am reluctant to buy in the current marketplace at current prices and am a little worried for you. I could be completely wrong, but I am waiting for late summer or fall to see what will happen in the oil and gas industry and with the dollar. With a well-valued market, 'sell in May' right around the corner, and the fact I live in oil country, I'm a bit skittish. I fully recognize that our situations are different. I was more eager to deploy fresh contributions when they were regular than I am now with a large lump sum. I appreciate your articles; Just being a voice of caution.
    Mar 18, 2015. 11:19 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2014 Year-End Portfolio Review [View article]
    I have no trouble with ETFs: an excellent way to build a small portfolio or jump into a sector that you don't know what to buy yet (I should have done that with utilities). They are far better than mutual funds in so many ways. Look for a fall in mutual fund related companies as the rules changed Jan 1 for reporting in Canada. I hope to buy MFC.

    I am not sure where you are getting your information but what I see on Google finance is that I have outperformed VYM over the last 2 years (total return for me is 24% in 2013, 16.2% this year).
    My goal is a 4% dividend. I have now achieved that. I could not achieve that with VYM. My end goal is to create an income stream that we can live off of in retirement, not needing to spend down the principal. Unfortunately, that is not possible with VYM. It would be so easy it if was! I wish. Nothing worthwhile is ever THAT easy. ;)

    If something were to happen to me, my husband or children would probably keep the portfolio going. They have been trained, though have no experience and little interest (or need). I have also told them that ETFs are a good second choice. VYM is not a bad option.
    Jan 4, 2015. 02:19 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Should I Do About Those Non-Dividend Paying Stocks I Received In A Spin-Off? [View article]
    I am a dividend investor with the majority of my portfolio, but I still do some trading when I think I see a good opportunity. I think your approach meets your needs which is all that really matters. However, I'm left wondering why, since you seem to need a little more income, you wouldn't put that 7% also into income producing investments and then spend the more income? Is it in more speculative trades in the hopes of increasing 'grin' money? If so, does your success rate align with your risk tolerance?

    I'm genuinely interested in this conversation. I am not someone who just starts arguments, so please don't think it is like that. I am in the earlier stages of building up a portfolio that I hope will one day (20 years-ish) produce all the income we need for retirement. Projections look good, and I'm way far ahead of schedule, but there's unexpected headwinds lurking around each corner. I imagine as I get closer to retirement I will be taking on less risk and have a much smaller non- or low-dividend portion of my portfolio than I do now. I have ~10% in trades, and another chunk - not really sure of % - in things like CNI, V, TSX:ATD, that have good growth, but pathetic dividends.

    I agree, everyone needs to find their own path, and I'm very interested in the thinking of your path and its application to my own portfolio. My interest is piqued!
    Nov 18, 2014. 06:54 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement Strategy: Johnson & Johnson Did WHAT Today? [View article]
    Nah...couldn't wait, joined the crowd. Longer JNJ! ;) Still have a good shopping list though!
    Oct 15, 2014. 03:37 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Scotiabank: Adding To A Core Holding [View article]
    Me neither. However, there's a limited amount of growth staying fixed in only Canada. One can only switch banks so often and one only needs so many mortgages and car loans. There are many more possible new customers in Asia, as they gain a toehold and build a solid reputation. That is why Scotiabank is in my portfolio and why it has lagged the others over the past few years and is proving to be more volatile. It is also why it is in my portfolio. There is room in the metrics for these issues to get ironed out by management without me needing to micromanage the holding in my portfolio, get panicky and sell. The dividend is 'safe' for the foreseen future. BNS is also likely to continue to lag until emerging markets become in vogue investments again. I'm okay with that as my targets are being generously met (even doubled) with this investment so far.
    Oct 10, 2014. 04:15 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Article Bought Me 2 Shares Of Kinder Morgan [View article]
    Yay Mary! You go girl! :) There are many successful women portfolio managers and some research even suggests that women make better investors. Women's intuition? (hee hee) or that we can admit our mistakes quicker? Or aren't as competitive with others, but still competitive with ourselves? I have no idea and haven't bothered with the research. My point is that yes, women can be excellent investors too, there's more than a few of us around here often hiding under ambiguous usernames.

    You are a great example of Eli's point, small disciplined beginnings will do great things. Welcome to SA and thanks for chiming in, it's encouraging to hear your story.
    Oct 3, 2014. 05:00 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Young Canadian Portfolio [View article]
    Interesting question, Larry. My son understands markets and at this point saving money is very easy for him. I am very grateful he is careful with his money. I come across many 20-somethings at work that make 3 times his income in the oilfield and only have debts at the end of the year. However, his interest in investing is limited to simply indexing and getting to paperwork is not his strong suit.

    He's a great kid and has patiently listened as I explained our portfolio goals and plans and prattled on about certain stocks. I think he even read an article or two I recommended (not any I wrote). When it came time to open his own investing accounts, I offered assistance in setting up a portfolio. He had all kinds of options that didn't include me. My goal is to demonstrate how to manage a portfolio, as one day he and his sister may inherit the one I am building for our retirement. Also, he is out of the country for a year, so I get to babysit his portfolio - hopefully after this last purchase that means just watching it make money! There are some special-needs issues involved, but when he is back and settled again responsibility will be transitioned to his own hands. Hopefully I'll be allowed to peek in on occasion and remain aware of how things are going.
    Sep 26, 2014. 06:48 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Numbers Are In! [View article]
    I hesitate to jump into the line of fire here, but well, why not? We certainly have no need to be overly critical and judgmental of others choices, they are theirs to make.

    Just a few side comments on small bits. The article I am working on now discusses DRIPping, why I don't generally, and why I do specifically so I'll ignore that for now.

    I think it is a completely unnecessary tragedy that North Americans are generally uneducated in personal finance and investing. (as is our literacy rate, but I do try to stay on topic). Through my tax work I see a broad spectrum of financial literacy and I take every opportunity to teach. I am just as eager to learn and value patient teachers. I have no flair for poetry and the effort required to read between the lines - just a vague appreciation for the ability to use words in a form so uniquely pretty and lyrical. I guess I really should have been an accountant! So when I do get that article written that includes my approach to DRIPping I hope you will comment and critique and explain the why's of your approach.

    When I was in school the smart kids took calculus and algebra and only the ones who would never go to university took finance math. What a shame for me. I excelled in physics and algebra, but I wish I had exposure to finance back then. I ensured my children were well versed in finance and dragged them to every meeting I ever had with every advisor and professional (insurance, lawyer, etc) where they were expected to listen quietly. My daughter started her successful business at age 9 in order to dollar-cost-average into an investment as she heard about in one of the meetings. The minimum was $25/mo and her allowance was only $12. They are well versed in finance and investments and now they generally wish I would shut up, though they are happy to have me manage their portfolios and help run the business!

    Even so, I would still consider myself an uneducated investor until recent years. There's nothing like doing it yourself to get an education quick and the advisor who suggested this path made it clear she was available at anytime and I made use of that to ask many questions. At any rate, anyone who hangs around here is not likely to remain uneducated for long!

    I have still been hearing that the average investor who got out at near the bottom in 2008 is still on the sidelines. (Market Call Tonight, July 2, first segment) What a shame. This and the aging population makes me think we are not ready for a bigger correction yet, just smaller ones.

    (In case you may think we were some of the ones that got out at the market bottom, we didn't get out, we discovered months after the fact that our advisor dumped the little left in cash and closed up shop. Our bad for letting the professionals handle it and not be involved. I didn't know enough to even read the statements. I saw losses, but the market does that, right? I didn't pay attention enough to really understand what happened as the statements stopped and then changed. It wasn't until I went to the vacant office that I finally figured it out. They were the professionals. I'll never again not be quite involved. I may even use an advisor again, but I will certainly keep on top of things and even indexing may be a good option if I get to the point of not being able to manage it.)

    However, I was exiting trades, moving up in quality, selling off and taking profits in things I am not as confident about and getting the funds tucked into dividend-growth names over the winter and spring. I like my current portfolio far better. I expect the cash I have will be fully invested by the end of this quarter with little dips (like GIS) along the way. Looking at my portfolio through the filtering lens of 2008 a few months back was very helpful in seeing where some of the pitfalls lie, though, of course, the situation will be different. Being mentally and emotionally prepared for what may come and as was mentioned, running the portfolio like a business have been very helpful. It takes time to determine your own investment business plan and strategies and I feel like I'm finally getting that all defined and sorted out.
    Jul 6, 2014. 04:55 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Numbers Are In! [View article]
    Ilocanuck wrote:
    "Now that I am retired, managing my of utmost importance as it supplements my CPP and OAS income."

    This is what I lost sight of this spring. Family illness caused uncertainty and I began chasing income, only partly out of fear. I really enjoy my main job. Now my head is on straight and I'll keep my focus where it should be - on my REAL job: managing my home and finance as I have all these years. As an intelligent, motivated woman, sometimes the lure of a career and all the positive reinforcement it provides overshadows the reality that for me I'm already in the best position I could ever be. I am keenly aware of how fortunate I am to be given the option and how foolish I was giving that up.

    I have an idea of the price I want to pay, but I don't usually wait for that. I try to watch the charts and pick a good technical entry instead of waiting for that ideal price. That's why I mentioned the dates I purchases. You can look at the chart and see what I was thinking....for better or worse!
    Jul 5, 2014. 12:33 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 1 Rock Solid Dividend Stock For Your Portfolio [View article]
    Like Skip, I added today. I probably should have waited to see what tomorrow will bring, but I think averaging up at this price for something I will hold for likely many years was an okay decision, not great, just okay. I now (finally) have a 'full position'. If it was to drop 10% much more, I can overweight temporarily and lower my cost base. I don't think that is likely in the short term, but may happen if there is a market correction. I tend to be too quick to jump in on a price drop, but I have bought some great deals in the past that way.
    Jun 25, 2014. 12:14 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What If My Stocks Crash And Burn? Part 2 [View article]
    Stops have a nasty habit of getting filled on unusual days. The most dramatic example is the flash crash a few years ago. Stops are a good strategy if you are looking to sell something. For AGU I had stops set up fairly tightly as it went up as I wanted to sell. (Then I forgot to reset them and just sold it, so it didn't even trigger a stop, not the greatest example).

    Stops are not such a great strategy if you want to hold something and enjoy, long-term, the income from it. An example I can think of is Enbridge. My first purchase was August 2011. I woke up one morning and saw that for seemingly no reason this stock that I had been watching for 6 months suddenly had a panic attack. I bought what was, for me at the time, a large position and I agonized over the decision. By the end of the day, the share price had substantially recovered and the week ended up. All those people who had stops lost their shares and probably didn't even notice for days. Instead, there were obviously many people who were eagerly taking advantage of the blowout sale. Who would you rather be?

    Since you are in the distribution phase, I would hazard a guess that your main priority is not capital gain or even capital preservation, but income. Stops will not protect your income, in fact they can easily damage it. Did ENB holders who rely on the income who had stops get back in before they had to pay more for their income? Most likely the majority didn't. That's sad and a waste. Was it helpful for preserving their capital? Not unless their stop was close and they got back in within hours. What if the crash happened the day before ex-dividend date. (I have no idea) They would lose their income that quarter as well and they would have less income if they repurchased the same dollar amount later.

    One of the things I have mentioned multiple times in the last few articles is that I am awaiting a correction to buy. As you are in the distribution phase, you may not have a lot of cash on hand to buy, but maybe you are buying some through DRIPs. If a well-known DGI name (pick any one: JNJ, MCD, GIS) fell 20% tomorrow because of general market instability and stayed at that level for months, would you really want it to trigger a sell? The company is not in trouble, the dividend is not at risk, it might really make no difference to you. I would be buying. But you might actually not want to sell, you might want the chance to reinvest your dividend at a discount and create a little bit more income.

    In the past I tried 'gamed' my portfolio. I would sell something I thought was about to pull back and then buy back a few percent lower, boosting my income. It seemed like a good idea, but really it was less successful than when I traded, and even more stressful. When I traded, I would buy and then need to time the sell. When I gamed my portfolio, I had to time the sell, and then the buy back too, not nearly as successful. In a way, this is what you are trying to do. You are picking an arbitrary sell price, then you will have to buy your income back. In my opinion, you are better served carefully building your portfolio in the first place: choosing quality companies with which to partner for years to come. I wish someone had told me that years ago....oh wait, they did. (David Crossetti, David Fish, David van Knapp, etc) I just wish "someone" would have listened to them earlier (ok, I did, it just takes time to really understand and implement it)! I wrote a "building a portfolio" series outlining what I learned.

    Alan, I wish you great enjoyment of life in your retirement and I hope your portfolio provides all that you need.
    Apr 11, 2014. 03:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment